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Old 07-11-2009, 10:01 AM   #1
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Red face Woke up with top of head completely numb/weakness in left hand

Hi everyone

First of all, a little history on myself. I am a 45 year old male. I have a history of cervical nerve impingement, ulnar nerve entrapment (left arm), and Tourette's Syndrome (I have frequent "head jerk" tics). The only other possibly relevant piece of information to what I'm about to describe might be that my mattress sags in the middle and that can't be very good for my spine.

This morning I awoke at about 6:30AM feeling a little sleepy but otherwise not too bad. I went back to sleep and awoke again at about 8:00AM with the entire top of my head/scalp completely numb all the way around (the face area was not affected). I put my hands on my head, feeling around and while I was a bit panicked by the whole thing, I simply figured I had pinched a nerve or something. As I wiggled around in the bed a little bit the numbness began to disappear until about 5 minutes later, it was completely gone and I went back to sleep again. (Please note that at this time I did not have any issues with my left hand.)

I woke up for the final time at about 10:00AM feeling pretty good and just laid there for about 10 minutes thinking about various things I had to get done today. When I got out of bed however, I noticed that my left arm was unusually weak/paralysed and just sort of "flopping" around. This really concerned me and I swore something drastic must have happened during the wee hours of the morning to cause this. I even thought that perhaps I had suffered a mild stroke or something but yet I was able to think coherently and when I self-administered a number of neurological/stroke tests on myself (finger tracking, standing with eyes closed, reciting alphabet, counting, today's date, my name, last 5 presidents, etc), I passed them all with flying colors.

As I got up out of bed and began moving around, I was experiencing trouble making a fist, clasping objects, wiping after using the bathroom (sorry), typing on the keyboard, etc. My hand just sort of flopped around as if it was some alien thing dangling from my wrist and my fingers were somewhat gnarled. This lasted most of the morning and then very gradually I began to regain some use in my left hand.

I am not asking for a diagnosis but what I am wondering is if anyone else here has ever experienced anything like this before and what *might* have caused it. I always thought that if a person pinched a nerve, they always rebounded fairly quickly and yet it has taken hours just for me to regain at least some use of my left hand again. Is it normal for it to take this long?.

Anyway, thanks for listening and I would really appreciate any type of feedback on this as it was a fairly frightening experience for me. I have had the numb head upon awakening in the past but not this severe and never with any weakness/paralysis in my left hand.

Thanks so much, Steve
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Last edited by Steven45; 07-11-2009 at 10:08 AM.

 
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Old 07-11-2009, 11:55 AM   #2
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Re: Woke up with top of head completely numb/weakness in left hand

Nerves are not very forgiving and may be the reason they took a long time to respond back to normal.

If I were you, I would see my doctor for evaluation and find out what is going on.

 
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Old 07-11-2009, 05:19 PM   #3
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Re: Woke up with top of head completely numb/weakness in left hand

Hi Steven,
Given your history, the scalp numbness could certainly be due to c-spine impingement and the left hand weakness due to the ulnar nerve entrapment.

If the hand thing happens again, or more importantly, if your hand still hasn't returned completely to "normal" (or what is normal for you) I would see my doc (orthopedist?) as soon as possible- it certainly sounds nerve related and if so, you want to nip whatever "it" is in the bud.

zuzuxx

 
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Old 07-11-2009, 07:12 PM   #4
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Re: Woke up with top of head completely numb/weakness in left hand

Thanks for the replies!.

The issues with my left hand disappeared within about 5 hours. I was a little alarmed that it took that long and there is still some mild, lingering weakness/limpness but overall I seem to have improved throughout the day. One thing I have noticed a few times in my right leg and my scalp is a sharp needling sensation followed by itching (nerves?). I dread going to sleep tonight for fear that I will wake up with this thing again tomorrow and am considering sleeping on the floor, a chair or anywhere but my own bed.

- Steve
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Last edited by Steven45; 07-11-2009 at 07:12 PM.

 
Old 07-11-2009, 07:27 PM   #5
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Re: Woke up with top of head completely numb/weakness in left hand

Could you have had a mild stroke? I am a survivor of 4 strokes, and I recommend you go in (given the arm weakness, even if temporary), just to make sure. I wish you well.

Stroke often occurs in the early morning hours, and these days are known as "brain attacks". They can be treated most effectively, right away. Just a thought, and best wishes to you.

Last edited by writeleft; 07-11-2009 at 07:28 PM.

 
Old 07-11-2009, 07:43 PM   #6
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Re: Woke up with top of head completely numb/weakness in left hand

Perhaps "weakness" was the wrong word. More specifically, I could not grip, wipe, type on the keyboard, etc so it was more like I just didn't have full use of my left hand rather than actually weakness or paralysis.

I looked up the symptoms of a stroke and I had none of them. I even did one of the tests that are suggested (raising both hands above the head and if one starts to fall, you might be having a stroke, etc). Also, when I think back, I've had the scalp numbness upon awakening in the past a number of times although it's been awhile and I've never heard of this with a stroke. I'm wondering if my Tourette's aggravated my cervical issues since I already suffer from nerve impingement both in my neck and left arm (ulnar nerve entrapment).

Still, a trip to the doctor is probably in order (or the ER if it pops up again and/or gets worse).

Thanks again - Steve
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Last edited by Steven45; 07-11-2009 at 07:45 PM.

 
Old 07-11-2009, 07:52 PM   #7
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Re: Woke up with top of head completely numb/weakness in left hand

Steven45,

Good, I am glad to know you have thought about it, and can discount stroke. I certainly don't want you to have had a stroke...far from it!

I think you are really smart to follow your own experience with your complicated medical history. I admire you for seeking answers to your questions, and hope you find the information you are looking for.

Best to you...

 
Old 07-11-2009, 08:20 PM   #8
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Re: Woke up with top of head completely numb/weakness in left hand

Steve,

I'm glad that writeleft mentioned stroke.

If this occurs again, please be aware of something called a TIA, short for "transient ischemic attack".

A TIA is a "warning stroke" or "mini-stroke" and like the name says it is "transient". A TIA produces symptoms just like a stroke but it is temporary and initially causes no lasting damage.
However, it can be a serious warning of a possible future major stroke, so if you experience this again, go straight to a hospital.

This of course is all "worst case scenario" stuff, but it's something to be aware of.

zuzu xx

 
Old 07-11-2009, 08:22 PM   #9
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Re: Woke up with top of head completely numb/weakness in left hand

You are very kind and helpful. Well, I hope it wasn't a stroke but then again, as a non-doctor, I probably can't rule it out altogether either. I was just reading about the caseof a 48 year old man (I'm 47) with a history of violent head-jerks caused by Tourette's and how this gentleman developed cervical myelopathy requiring the need for surgery (very scary). What's even scarier is that when I read about this condition it was like reading my own history of symptoms over the last half-dozen or so years. Yikes.
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Old 07-11-2009, 09:24 PM   #10
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Re: Woke up with top of head completely numb/weakness in left hand

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven45 View Post
You are very kind and helpful. Well, I hope it wasn't a stroke but then again, as a non-doctor, I probably can't rule it out altogether either. I was just reading about the caseof a 48 year old man (I'm 47) with a history of violent head-jerks caused by Tourette's and how this gentleman developed cervical myelopathy requiring the need for surgery (very scary). What's even scarier is that when I read about this condition it was like reading my own history of symptoms over the last half-dozen or so years. Yikes.
Steven45,

I understand how people with underlying problems start "feeling" the effects of our bodies at earlier ages, struggling against the strain that major illnesses put on our body. I have a very basic understanding of Tourettes, and I can only imagine the side effects it must cause.

I hope you are being treated by the proper doctor, who would best diagnose your symptoms. When did you see your doctor last? Does he/she agree with your synopsis?

 
Old 07-11-2009, 09:44 PM   #11
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Re: Woke up with top of head completely numb/weakness in left hand

Steve,
Your Tourette's tic-ing or jerks obviously has taken a toll on your c-spine- so it's more likely your symptoms are all related to your neck and arm nerve entrapment.
I also want to add that 5 years ago I developed numbness and tingling in my left hand and arm, plus severe neck pain with limited range of motion. The paresthesias scared the (blank) outta me, and I made a bee-line to an orthopedist who after MRis etc diagnosed cervical stenosis (3 levels), cervical myelopathy with nerve impingement and gleefully announced that in my case I had committed the unforgivable sin of being "over 21". Very funny ha ha gotta love dem docs.
He said it was all age- related in this instance. He was VERY NIHILISTIC and was already talking surgery and inisted that surgery was the ONLY answer.
I had to push/beg/plead to let's try physical therapy first.
He agreed (reluctantly) and the bottom line is: I went thru very intensive "rehab" but came out completely free of all symptoms and sensations 10 weeks later. And they have never recurred.

Sorry for going on about moi, but it was just a sidebar to rant about how so many doctors are SO ready to "cut".

By the way, do you take meds for the Tourette's and have they helped?
Has this been since childhood?

zuzu xx

Last edited by zuzu8; 07-12-2009 at 01:13 AM.

 
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